What sets your company apart from others for employee candidates? Today’s workers expect more from companies. It is no longer about who pays the most. Instead, employee candidates want to know about your company’s culture. This includes beliefs, values, goals, communication styles, and work environment. Highlighting your company culture can help your company stand out and successfully recruit top talent.
Why Company Culture Matters
Talented workers have more options than ever when seeking career growth through new employment. Remote working has increased the competition for companies that are now able to significantly expand their recruiting efforts beyond their immediate area. Because of this shift, people are willing to do more to find a company that fits them best.
Today’s employees want more than a big salary. They want to feel fulfilled in their role. This means only applying to companies who treat their employees, customers, and the planet well. When companies use culture as a core element of their recruiting strategy, they can successfully attract the top 20% of candidates.
Attracting top talent means you hire the best of the best. These individuals have the skills, experience, and knowledge to excel in their roles. They actively work towards personal and career growth. Your company benefits from this by leveraging employee assets to further the growth and success of the business.
Workers Value Culture
There has been a shift in values over the last few years. Employees are no longer willing to accept a toxic work environment for better compensation. In contrast, 77% of today’s applicants consider company culture when deciding whether or not to apply for a position. Over half of applicants consider company culture more important than salary for job satisfaction. Companies need to follow suit with employees placing this much importance on culture.
Toxic Culture Drives Turnover
Modern workers are unwilling to accept a toxic work environment. With increased awareness of mental health, equality, and work/life balance, more employees will actively protect themselves by leaving a toxic work culture. A study by MIT Sloan found that the number one reason for high employee turnover was a toxic work environment. High turnover becomes like a cancer within a company. Productivity declines and it becomes more challenging to establish a positive culture. Top talent learns of the turnover rates and becomes less likely to apply. Now it becomes more difficult to attract top talent, further exacerbating the problem.
Younger Workers Are Not Afraid to Leave
Unlike older generations who would work for a single company for their entire career, younger generations are not afraid to change jobs. They will leave a company if they feel it is not a good cultural fit or lacks career opportunities. One study by Lever’s in 2022 found that 65% of Gen Z workers will stay at their current job for less than a year.
How to Use Company Culture to Attract Top Talent
Using company culture as a part of your recruiting efforts helps you attract top talent by connecting personally. When someone feels connected to a company through a positive culture, they are more likely to achieve higher engagement levels.
Recruitment can lean heavily on word of mouth. Many workers still rely on referrals from friends, family, and colleagues to seek career opportunities. If your company has a strong reputation, your employees are more likely to encourage people they know to apply. A strong, positive company culture engages employees. Engaged employees are more likely to act as a brand ambassador. Recruiting through referrals decreases hiring costs and turnover rate.
Positive Work Environment
Modern workers are savvy enough to research your company before deciding to apply. Your image of company culture needs to align with reality. Otherwise, you risk creating the impression of being fake or dishonest. The simplest approach is to promote a positive work environment. Happy employees can speak honestly and genuinely about their experiences. Their sincerity attracts top talent who appreciate their honesty. Utilize social media or revamp your career page to feature imagery of engaged employees. Highlight company events, feature a day in the life, or share behind-the-scenes content.
Alignment with Values
Adopt a recruiting strategy that focuses on identifying top talent. That way, you can ensure your company culture and values align with the top talent you seek to hire. Low-level or less talented workers focus on transactional questions during hiring. They typically ask about salary, benefits, vacation days, and scheduling. Top-talent workers tend to focus on higher-level topics. Their interview questions will focus on their future manager’s management style, the company’s mission, and career growth opportunities. These individuals will drive your company to success through their personal growth ambitions.
Establish Your Identity
Similar to branding for your target audience or customer, you need to establish authentic branding for targeting top talent in recruiting. This is your employer value proposition (EVP) that positions your company by highlighting its unique benefits to employees. Your EVP should be clear and concise. It should include compensation, benefits, company culture, and anything else employees deem valuable. Highlight how your company is different from your competitors in the market.
Your EVP is not the same as your customer branding. Modern workers understand that customer-focused branding does not always accurately dictate your company’s internal culture. They want to determine if they will fit in and feel happy working for you.
Be upfront with your employer branding. According to a LinkedIn survey, 40% of candidates want to know about company culture in your first messages with them.
Evaluate Your Company Culture
Before you use company culture in your EVP, you need to evaluate what your company is. Positive or negative, your company already has a culture, and you need to know what it is. One way to assess culture is by getting feedback from your employees. They probably won’t use the word culture specifically, but they will reference it in other ways. Ask employees why they accepted a position with your company.
They could reference that you are a smaller company or that they wanted to work on a smaller team. This would hint at them feeling valued or heard. Responses may reference their drive to attain personal career goals, indicating that they thought your company would help them achieve them. Perhaps your employees talk about your customer service reputation. Their values align with the company’s in terms of treating customers well.
Another culture evaluation method looks at your recruiting stats. Compare how many offers get made to how many get accepted. If top candidates consistently turn down your employment offers, there could be a problem with culture.
How to Create a Desirable Company Culture
There is a misconception that company culture means creating a fun or cool work environment. This is not the case. Company culture goes deeper. It should focus on empowering employees to take ownership of their roles. Support them by making them feel heard, valued, and set up to succeed.
Conduct Employee Surveys and Listen to Feedback
Open communication fosters collaboration and increases employee satisfaction. Conducting employee surveys helps you better understand what is going on with your employees at all levels. People are likelier to provide honest feedback in an anonymous survey, giving you better insight. However, you need to listen to the feedback for this strategy to be effective. Then, take active steps to address the common themes in the responses. When employees see these changes, they feel valued and heard. This improves employee morale on multiple levels.
Perform Thoughtful Performance Reviews
Regularly perform performance reviews that allow you to check in with your employees. The reviews should be thoughtful and constructive. Celebrate accomplishments and success. Address shortcomings and work with employees to overcome them. Provide resources and a clear path to encourage employees to grow professionally.
Encourage Flexible Schedules
Modern employees value work/life balance. They want to work for a company that understands, respects, and shares this priority. To do this, you can offer flexible schedules or hybrid/remote working opportunities. For this strategy to be successful, you must trust your employees to do the job you hired them for.
Encourage Career Development
When you invest in your employees, they invest in your company. It’s hard for some executives and owners to grasp, but by actively supporting the growth and success of your employees, your company benefits. As your employees learn and grow, they apply this new knowledge and skill to their job. Employees who do not feel valued or supported will take their knowledge and skills elsewhere.
Start at the Top
Company culture impacts all levels of your organization. It is not enough to pay for a pizza party once a month and call it a day. Executive teams and leadership need to lead by example. Be intentional in establishing and maintaining culture.
If you want to foster a culture of collaboration, individuals in leadership roles need to allow employees to share their ideas. These ideas then need to be given genuine consideration and feedback.
Companies that claim to encourage career growth need to have programs and systems in place that actively support employees. There should be employees in leadership roles who grew into their positions from lower levels.
Showcase Your Culture
Don’t vaguely speak of company culture in your recruiting efforts. This will come across as disingenuous. Instead, highlight the qualities and characteristics of your company culture. This ensures you attract employees who have similar values. After all, cultural recruitment aims to hire individuals who will thrive in your culture. There are several types of company culture. One isn’t inherently better than another. However, you may find that one style aligns better with your company’s industry.
In an adhocracy culture, employees thrive working independently and adapt quickly to changing conditions. This culture is often found in startups, where growth happens quickly. There is less of a structure hierarchy and bureaucratic structure. Instead, employees at all levels are empowered to take ownership of their decisions for a more agile company.
While all companies claim to care about their employees, one with a caring culture goes above and beyond. It places importance on employees feeling fulfilled and happy. Trust and loyalty are paramount. Companies with a caring culture typically have extensive employee benefits that aim to enrich lives.
This type of company culture feels like a tight-knit group, almost like a family. Collaboration and teamwork are highly encouraged. Employees who thrive in this culture appreciate the close bonds. They thrive with hands-on mentoring and a more supportive leadership style. You often see this culture in small businesses. It also occurs as a sub-culture in a larger company when there is a small team that works collaboratively.
Some employees thrive in a highly structured environment with clearly defined roles. This is what a hierarchy culture is. Each role clearly defines what it is and how it fits into the company structure. There are procedures in place that everyone is expected to follow. You typically see a hierarchical culture in large, well-established national or international companies.
A market culture is ideal for goal-oriented employees who enjoy competition. You often see a market culture in sales-based companies. Employees may compete with themselves or each other to gauge performance. Decisions are strategic with the main goal in mind. Strategies are often based on analytical data and reporting.
A company with a purpose-driven culture leans heavily on a singular goal that employees unite behind. This often aligns with the company’s mission statement. All of the organization’s strategic decision-making aims to further the purpose. This type of culture is most often seen for philanthropic endeavors. Employees believe in the cause and are willing to work for a company to support its efforts.
Start Attracting Top Talent
Establishing and building a positive company culture should be a part of your employee recruitment and retention strategy. Top candidates want more than a salary. They want to feel valued by their company. Investing in your employees establishes a corporate reputation that motivates and engages your team.
Work with the experts to establish your company branding by promoting your culture to attract top talent.